The Ultimate Guide to Savusavu

Nov. 27, 2017, 5:39 a.m.

Overview

Savusavu is known as Fiji’s “hidden paradise”, and is a quaint township famed for its hot springs, pearl farming, scuba  diving and high-end resort properties with some of Fiji’s most naturally stunning vistas. The CBD is nestled on the shores of a deep harbour, with exquisite views and directly across the small island of Nawi on Savusavu Bay.

The area is  easily accessible with ferry services to Savusavu Wharf from Viti Levu- Fiji’s largest island, and  flights to Savusavu Airport. The Hibiscus Highway is the main road route of Vanua Levu, connecting Savusavu to the island’s other key town of Labasa, and a plethora of upmarket estates and resort properties.

The town is a popular regatta point, and though initially established as a trading centre for sea cucumbers, copra and sandalwood by early European settlers, it is now the main tourist hub of Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island and a major wedding destination for foreign brides.

History

Savusavu was incepted as a township in 1969 and the town’s formative years were shaped by its centre as a key point of trade for sea cucumbers, sandalwood, copra and other commodities by early European settlers, many of whom founded families in Savusavu, including the Andres, Barrack, Cornish, Jackson, Johnson, Kean, Costa, Miller, Newton, Richards, Simpson, Soderberg, Wilson and the Whippy families.

Many local families of mixed European and indigenous Fijian heritage retain ancestral homes and estates in the proximity of this charming seaside town, which falls under Cakaudrove Province and named after indigenous Savusavu village.

Economy and Main Industries

Tourism is a mainstay of Savusavu’s local economy, with high-end accommodation such as Namale The Fiji Island Resort & Spa, Daku Resort, Jean -Michel Costeau Resort Fiji, Koro Sun Resort, Emaho Sekawa Resort and other private, boutique hotels.

Savusavu and its surrounding vicinities are a  mecca for Freehold, which constitutes a very small percentage of Fiji’s total land mass. Foreigners make up a notable chunk of proprietors here, with attractive rental returns on the letting market for absentee owners and as  popular holiday retreats.

Copra farming, fishing and pearl farming also constitute a considerable employment base, with Savusavu home to the world-renowned J.Hunter Pearls, providing work for local villagers and residents. Their famous  black pearls have become prized possessions and a must-have for jewelry enthusiasts, with founder, Justin Hunter also serving as  President of the Savusavu Tourism Association and Savusavu Chamber of Commerce .

Copra Millers of Fiji Limited operates at Balaga Bay, about five kilometres to the North of Savusavu’s CBD, and is one of the two large local manufacturers of crude oil from copra, with 94 per cent of its sales exported overseas and six per cent for the local market.  CMFL also also has a bottling arm, selling 500ml and 750ml bottles of coconut oil in local supermarkets, with plans to diversify into virgin coconut oil and refined, bleached oil. Its mill crushes 24,000 tonnes of copra per annum.

The Savusavu Industrial Zone is located at Balaga Bay and encourages investment in Fiji’s Northern division, as a tax-free area spanning 16 acres of Freehold land, and offering 18 lots at an average size of 1,167 sqm. These lots  include roads, kerbs, footpaths, sewerage systems, a pump station, water systems for substations for the Fiji Electricity Authority. More information on tax-free incentives can be obtained from the FIji Revenue & Customs Services on (m) 3243000 or (e) info@frcs.org.fj.

Key Areas of Development

Savusavu has long been home to beautiful residential developments, with a mix of heritage estates passed through generations of settler families and resort-style properties that weave the hallmarks of indigenous design concepts with contemporary practicality. One of the most prominent developments to progress in the last few years is the Nawi, an exclusive enclave of three private islands spanning a world-class marina, home lots, resort and spa and dry dock within Savusavu Bay, facing the town’s CBD.  there are over 20 residential ocean view, beach front and marina lots property owners.

Other precincts with rising traction include Nacekoro Heights, with a subdivision  walking distance from the CBD and boasting stellar sea views.

Weather, Climate & Geography

The dry season, between May and October, brings with it mild and pleasant temperatures, generally between the upper 60s and mid 80s. These are the fall and winter months in Fiji, and the humidity is much less severe during this time period. The wet season, which is hot and humid, generally lasts from November through April, with the most severe humidity taking place between January and March. The temperatures usually range from the mid 70s to the upper 80s, with frequent rain. Savusavu’s CBD rests on the waterfront and further afield surrounded by mountains with waterfalls and water holes that make the area an adventurous terrain.

Population & Demographics

Savusavu is located on the south coast of Vanua Levu Island in Fiji’s Northern Division and had a population of 3,372 in the 2007 census. It was officially declared a Tobacco Smoke Free Zone in August 2014 to prohibit the use of tobacco in public spaces.

Entertainment Attractions

The Copra Shed Marina is a staple hangout,  with the Captain’s Cafe and Table providing breakfast, lunch and pizza. Other culinary delights include Country Kitchen,  Sea View Cafe, Surf N Turf. the Grace Road Kitchen and Snowy House. The Hot Springs Hotel is one of the oldest and most popular stays in town, and oversees the harbour, while night spots  include the Planter’s Club, the Waitui Club and Uro’s Nightclub.

Most tourist properties are able to facilitate weddings, with popular destinations including the Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa- the first over-the-water bungalows in Fiji’s Northern division and  built around a waterfall on the edge of a lagoon.

The underwater world is a hallmark of Savusavu living, with an assortment of coral viewing, scuba diving, shark diving and fishing tours offered by the locals.

The award-winning and PADI-certified Namena Divers offer tours of the Namena Mine Reserve, Somosomo Straits and Hammerhead shark dives  at beautiful spots such as Rainbow Reef, The Great Wall, Purple Wall and The Ledge. Their dived teams shops  are located at the Koro Sun Dive Centre and Namena Island Dive Centre, and reachable on (m) 885 3389 /  891 2992 and

(e) namenadivers@gmail.com. The Jean-Michel Cousteau Dive Center also offers attractive scuba diving courses and rates and can be contacted on (m) 8850694 and (e) contact@jeanmichelcousteaudiving.com.

Hot springs are also a drawcard and evident of the area’s volcanic simmer, with springs found at Savusavu village and near the aptly-named Savusavu Hot Springs Hotel. Locals also user these springs for cooking food.

Regattas are a popular fete in this town harbour town, with the Savusavu Yacht Club based at the Copra Shed Marina and producing award-winning sailors. Members compete nationally and internationally. Savusavu is a popular cruising destination, with many yachts dropping anchor here, particularly between May and October, the cruising season.

Nature enthusiasts will enjoy Flora Tropica Gardens, a five-acre span of hillsides and creek flats covering over 250 palm  species from around the world, and traversable by elevated timber walkways and stone paths. Other plant variants include flowering trees and shrubs and over 40 tropical fruit trees, as well as orchids, heliconia, water lilies, making this garden a popular supplier for cruise ships, yachts, resorts and weddings, bird-watchers and artists. The property can be contacted on (m) 921 4600 and (e) ​floratropicafiji@gmail.com.

 

Schools & Educational Institutes

Educational institutions in the area include Savusavu Primary School, Nasavusavu Secondary School and St Bede’s College.

Healthcare & Emergency Services

The Savusavu Medical Centre is within proximity of the town’s famed hot springs and offers thermal pool baths, using the curative properties of the spring’s geothermal waters. Conditions treated include arthritis and rheumatism, bone and muscular pain, skin conditions, bodily toxins and fertility issues.

Savusavu Hospital is located along Cross Island Rd and can be reached on 8850444. For maritime search and security, contact the Maritime Safety  Authority of Fiji on 885 0281 or the Fiji Navy on 3315380.

For emergency air lifts, the Helipro Fiji Emergency services office can be contacted on 7707700.

The National Fire Authority’s Savusavu office can be reached on 8850 722.

Government Authorities

Municipal enquiries or authorization can be sought from the Savusavu Town Council. They can be reached on (e) ssvtowncouncil@connect.com.fj or (m) 8850261 / 8850969.

Property seekers interested in leasing native land can visit the i Taukei Land Trust Board sub-regional official at the first floor of Planters House in Savusavu, or contact them on

8280 797 / 8280 796 / 9995 886. Their services include general lease and iTaukei land enquiries, landowner consultations and awareness, iTaukei (native) land lease and licence applications, rent reassessments, lease expiries and renewals, land developments and subdivisions, land marketing and enforcement of lease/ licence terms and conditions and compliance, dealings for consent, mortgage, assignments, subletting, building plans, survey instructions and lease documents and utilities for electricity and water metres, the registration of indigenous landowners for equal rent distribution and assisting indigenous landowners with leasing their land and support and advice for their business initiative.

The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) oversees all policies and regulations associated with maritime vessel safety and security, marine navigation services, port control and pollution prevention etc. Its local office is located at Savusavu Wharf, and can be reached on

(m) 885 0281.

The Fiji Revenue & Customs Services are collectors of all government taxes, Stamp Duty etc  and a focal authority for conducting business in Fiji. Their Savusavu office is located at Mukesh Building, along the mainstreet of Savusavu’s central business district, and can be reached  on (m) 8850727. The officer in charge is Inoke Baravilala (ibaravilala@frcs.org.fj).

Key Transport Services

The national airline, Fiji Airways, operates daily domestic  flights (Fiji Link) from Savusavu Airport, which is a short run from the CBD and also provides easy reach to the neighbouring garden island of Taveuni. Daily ferry services to Savusavu are availed by Gounder Shipping (3301035). There are several car rental companies in town, including Vanua Rental (881 1060), AA Rentals Savusavu (9898556) , Avis Rentals ( 8922 375) and Budget Car Rentals (8811999).

Types of Properties

Only about 8 per cent of Fiji’s total land mass is Freehold and the bulk of these are found in Savusavu. Many of these are upmarket or resort-style homes, and investment expedited by easy accessibility and a short flight to the capital city of Suva, and offices for relevant authorities in Savusavu’s CBD.

Many homes in and around this charming town have sweeping ocean views, making the area a popular retirement retreat for returnee residents and foreigners wanting a peaceful existence in exquisite, beautiful surroundings. There is a large inventory of luxury houses with all the trappings of an upmarket lifestyle matched by the splendour of fishing, diving and enjoying other water-based activities on their doorstep.  Private islands in the vicinity include the upcoming Nawi Island and Wavi Island, an exclusive spread of 27 acres.

The town’s main realty houses  are Ki-Maren Real Estate ( 885 0582) and Bayley’s Real Estate( 8850473).